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A False vacuum state is in general a metastable configuration of a system which can decay, because of fluctuations, to the absolute ground state, the true vacuum state.
In the quantum gases lab in Trento, a superfluid spin mixture of sodium atoms was produced in a false vacuum state (blue) and its decay to the true vacuum (red) was observed and studied through the formation of spin bubbles. This process is strongly related to cosmological phenomena and the research community has dedicated great effort to understand in which kind of vacuum our universe is. Several research groups have developed sophisticated theories to describe this process, and, in the absence of a direct access to the conditions of the Big Bang, table top experimental platforms for testing and simulating these models have been devised.
The decay timescales observed in the Trento experiment are consistent with those of numerical simulations and cosmological models.
The results come from the joint effort of researchers of the Pitaevskii BEC Center in Trento (National Institute of Optics of CNR and Department of Physics of the University of Trento) and Newcastle University.
A. Zenesini, A. Berti, R. Cominotti, C. Rogora, I. G. Moss, T. P. Billam, I. Carusotto, G. Lamporesi, A. Recati & G. Ferrari,
False vacuum decay via bubble formation in ferromagnetic superfluids, Nat.Phys. (2024).
We acknowledge financial support from Provincia Autonoma di Trento, INFN, MUR, Q@TN, European Union – Next Generation EU
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